Her children were misbehaving. What this mum did next makes us want to stand up and cheer.
As a parent I’ve often thought of marching my, at times, wayward children to the police station and asking a police officer to have a stern chat to them about the consequences of unruly behaviour.
I know I’ve uttered thinly veiled threats about “getting Mr Policeman to pay us a visit”, but I’ve never had the gumption to follow through with it. That is, until last Monday.
The day started out perfectly. It was only seven-thirty yet the suds from the breakfast dishes had long since evaporated and Spiderman, George the Pig and Princess bags were all packed and lined up at the door, resembling a rogue band of misfits ready for action. Miss Six, with her minty breath and pigtail hair was quietly colouring in at the breakfast table and Masters Just-Turned-Three and Nearly-Four were crowding over the Lego box. The dog and cat had called a truce on their usual antics and the pet fish was swimming slow, methodical circles in his glass universe. I did a mental high-five. We were ahead of schedule. If there was such a thing as a gold star morning, this was it.
I quietly retreated to the shower, and as the hot water began to awaken tired muscles, I relaxed into the morning. Whilst running through the mental checklist of the day ahead, the water pressure suddenly dropped. Poking a shampoo-lathered head out, I held my breath and listened. High-pitched squeals, followed by proclamations of “DO IT AGAIN!” were echoing down the hall. I cursed and recalled the episode last week when the boys decided to create an indoor slip and slide in the hallway with liquid soap and buckets of water. Still soapy and dripping wet, I rushed toward the source of the commotion.
As I rounded the corner to the kids’ rooms to confront the source head on, I stopped. It took a few moments to take it all in. There was an up-ended craft box, glitter and stickers, glue and fuzzy little ball things spewed everywhere. There was water, lots of water. And red and blue ink. Every single wall and floor in the bedroom and down the hall was splashed with red and blue. And in the middle of it all were two little boys who moments ago were clean, dressed and happily playing Lego, now naked and dyed from head to toe. “LOOK MUM, WE’RE FLICK PAINTING!” exclaimed Master Nearly-Four, waving an ink-laden straw around whilst Master Just-Turned-Three squealed with delight.
I don’t really know what the sound was that escaped my lips. I think it was somewhere between a wail and a yelp. Either way, it instantly sobered the mood. After marching the naked impressionists to the shower, barking out words such as “Unacceptable behaviour” and “Inappropriate use of craft materials” I sank to the floor, my wet hair still plastered to my forehead. Tears pricked my eyes as I questioned whether I had the emotional fortitude to handle such antics before my morning coffee. The clean up effort was a monumental, all hands on deck affair. So much for a gold star morning.